Can You Grow Weed in Vermont?

Cannabis can be purchased as flower, concentrates, vape cartridges, and edibles.
RXD Co Website Blog Post Poster VERMONT
May 1, 2024 • 4 Min Read
By Alison Lucek
Understanding Cannabis Legislation in the Green Mountain State

Perhaps it is no surprise that in the state of Vermont, a place known for its open-minded culture and progressive politics, both recreational cannabis and medical cannabis are legal. And while other states did so through ballot initiatives, in 2018 Vermont became the first state in the nation to legalize adult-use marijuana through legislature.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s that famously “[uses] ice cream to save the world,” can not only grow green grass for dairy cows in their home state but an environmentally friendly grass of another kind. Growing the kind green bud is legal in the Green Mountain State for both medical users who can cultivate up to nine plants and recreational users who are allowed six plants at home, with up to two mature plants at one time.

It isn’t just maple syrup, covered bridges, and a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities across the primarily forested natural landscape of Vermont anymore. Today 73 retail cannabis stores can be found in Vermont with another 11 on the way. As its cannabis marketplace is thriving in 2024, lawmakers are considering several bills to update Vermont's cannabis regulations including radical changes to how the state’s medical program operates.

Growing Green Weed in the Green Mountain State:
Cannabis Home Cultivation in VT

Since 2018, all Green Mountain State adult residents aged 21 and older are legally permitted to cultivate the green weed at home in private with a maximum of six cannabis plants, two mature and up to four immature plants. Medical cannabis users are permitted to grow up to nine marijuana plants, again with only two mature at one time.

Those who cultivate marijuana for personal use may possess the total quantity of their harvest at home, but regardless of the number of adults living at a residence, the same plant limits apply.

Three mature cannabis plants (and up to six immature plants) becomes a civil penalty and the cultivation of 11-25 plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Vermont Cannabis Supply, Sale, Purchase, Possession, and Use

As regulated by the Vermont Cannabis Control Board (CCB), the state permits the use of cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes.

With a government-issued photo ID, adult users 21 and older are allowed one ounce of cannabis or its equivalent in other forms. Only residents with a Vermont medical marijuana card and a valid government-issued ID are allowed to purchase up to two ounces of medical cannabis.

Individuals found in possession of more than these sanctioned amounts are subject to imprisonment and fines. The greater the quantity of marijuana involved, the greater the penalty for marijuana-related offenses. Likewise, penalties escalate for repeat offenders.

Cannabis can be purchased as flower, concentrates, vape cartridges, and edibles with specific potency caps including a 30% THC cap on cannabis flower and a 60% cap on concentrates. All cannabis retailers are prohibited from sales that exceed state quantity restrictions or from selling products over the THC concentration caps stipulated under state law. Regardless of purpose, all cannabis use in public locations, in a vehicle, or on federal property is illegal as is transporting across state lines.

While adult-use marijuana is legal in the state, Vermont law provides municipalities with the option to allow or prohibit the establishment of retail cannabis businesses in their district. Towns must vote for retail cannabis to be sold within their borders.

Of the 400 cultivators in VT, 80% are considered Tier 1 growers with up to 1,000 square feet of plant canopy or fewer than 125 cannabis plants in an outdoor cultivation space. This overwhelming percentage of small growth operations suggests that the state’s CCB has been successful in persuading the “legacy” illicit market to join the legal, regulated effort. But while Vermont continues to protect small growers by controlling overall supply and recently indefinitely closed the application window for new Tier 4 and 5 licenses, there is continued outcry from cannabis cultivators that the market is currently oversaturated.

Vermont’s History of Progressive Cannabis Legalization & Ongoing Reform

The Controlled Substances Act named marijuana a Schedule 1 drug in 1970, but as the decade unfolded, the state of Vermont embraced a more progressive stance and in 1978, the state legislature introduced a landmark bill to decriminalize cannabis. Then in 1981, recognizing its therapeutic benefits, Vermont established its Cannabis Therapeutic Research Program which allowed physicians to prescribe marijuana to cancer patients and others under specific guidelines.

Though proposed legalization failed to pass the Senate in 2001, the state formed a Medical Marijuana Study Committee to explore the implementation of a medical cannabis program and finally in 2004, Vermont legalized medical cannabis by adopting S76, legislation that established a Department of Public Safety registry for qualifying patients and caregivers to possess and cultivate medical cannabis.

In 2013 the state enacted HB 200 which decriminalized the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for individuals 21 and over, imposing only civil penalties for offenders. In 2016 and 2017 the state made further enhancements to the state’s medical cannabis program with legislation that broadened qualifying conditions and expanded access.

Then in January 2018 the state saw the passage of Act 86, legalizing possession, private consumption, and limited cultivation among persons aged 21 years and older. Also known as H. 511, the legislation eliminated penalties for minor marijuana possession for individuals 21+, legalizing the possession of up to one ounce and the cultivation of a small number of marijuana plants for personal use.

Finally in 2020, Vermont legalized recreational cannabis sales. The passage of S54 is responsible for the establishment of a regulated adult-use cannabis market with opt-in/opt-out provisions for localities, equity prioritizations for small-scale cultivators, women, and people of color, and the creation of a Cannabis Control Board to oversee the cannabis market.

In the years since adult-use legalization, the state has continued to expand medical access and provisions for marijuana-related expungements. Now in 2024, Vermont lawmakers are considering several bills to update the state’s cannabis law including legislation to reform potency caps, state-licensed marijuana cultivation in densely populated areas, and provisions for “medical endorsements” that would allow select retail stores to sell higher potency products to qualifying medical patients.

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